Cooking is something anyone can do. Can you shop and follow directions? Do you own basic cooking equipment? If so, then stop making excuses, and get cooking! If you want to learn how to enhance your culinary abilities, look at these tips to find advice on how to prepare great meals.
You should keep your spices and herbs in a space that is cool and away from light. Their flavors will be weakened when they are exposed to light, heat or humidity. Ground herbs and spices will retain their flavor for about a year. Spices that are not ground can keep their flavors for 3 to 5 years. If you store them correctly, they will stay fresh for an even longer period of time.
Meat should always be thinly sliced and cut on the bias if you are adding it to a stir-fry. Some people find it difficult to cut the meat thin, but it is very important. When the meat is partially frozen, slice it diagonally across the grain at a 45 degree angle.
If you can, do all the preparing of the meal’s ingredients in advance. The wise cook prepares as much as possible before starting to cook. If you are cooking a complex dish, take some of the stress out of it by having your needed ingredients lined up and ready. You can help lessen the potential stress by getting all your prep work done early.
Here is a handy trick you can use to save your sauce. Take one tablespoon corn starch, and combine with two tablespoons water in a mixing bowl. Stir this mixture into the thin sauce and it will thicken up. Stir constantly as you pour the cornstarch and water mixture slowly into the pot.
Bake pie and tart crusts for a longer time than you think is really necessary. Your crust should be a deep caramel as opposed to a light goldenrod. The crust changes to the caramel color only after the sugar has had time to caramelize. This will give the crust the sweet flavor you want.
Your spices should be stored in any area that is dark and cool. Exposing spices to heat, humidity, and light will shorten their lifespan. Your spices will have a longer shelf life and retain their good taste if stored in a dark, cool spot. Fresh spices offer better taste profiles than stale ones.
For optimal safety, use only sharp knives when preparing food. Not only can it be difficult to cut with dull knives, but it is dangerous to use them too. Forcing dull knives through foods can result in personal injury, whereas a sharp knife will quickly and easily cut right through.
If you are making a meal for someone that you want to make a good impression on, be sure to make something you know how to make well. Do not try to cook something new for a big day. This will allow you to cook with less stress.
If your burgers seem to be sticking to the surface of your grill, it may be hard to take them off without breaking them. Consider brushing the grill with vegetable oil before cooking to prevent food from sticking to the grill.
Apples are very popular in cooking in fall and winter, but the spoilage rate is high if they are not stored correctly. Dry warm air will cause them to rot, so make sure they are stored in a loose plastic bag in the fridge or in a cool basement. Check your stored apples frequently, as one spoiling fruit can quickly ruin the rest in the bag if not promptly removed.
If you want to eat healthier and lose weight, it’s really important to use fewer oils in your cooking. Oil and butter provide a lot of un-needed fat. A nonstick spray for cooking provides many of the same results as oil; however, it does not add extra calories.
To reduce the calories and fat of mashed potatoes, and to avoid sacrificing taste or texture, replace some potatoes with the same amount of cauliflower. Their bland flavor blends effortlessly with the potatoes while taking flavor from the other ingredients. It also mimics the texture and color of the potatoes almost perfectly letting you up your vegetable intake, and drop the calories, all the while giving the same delicious potato experience we all know and love.
If you wish to eat more protein, try one of the many varieties of beans or tofu available. They can be bought at pretty much any grocery store. Make a yummy meat alternative by pan frying the tofu with some seasonings. Boiling the beans and then including them in a hearty vegetarian chili is also a wonderful dish for a cold winter night.
Do you enjoy flavoring your food with fresh basil? Gather a bunch and put it into a glass. Next, put water on the stems until they are covered. Store it on the counter of your kitchen; it will stay fresh for weeks. By changing the water every so often, your basil will develop roots. By cutting or trimming the basil on occasion, it will grow even further, so you can have fresh basil for quite a while.
You should read the labels when you are buying ingredients for a recipe. Most cooking supplies have hidden ingredients that could be unhealthy. Make sure the ingredients you get don’t contain too much sugar or sodium, because each may account for certain health problems if overused.
In recipes that call for milk or water, try substituting more flavorful liquids. You could use chicken broth or juice, instead of water. Some great replacements for milk are sour cream, yogurt and buttermilk. By using different liquid ingredients in your side dishes, you can increase their flavor and nutritional value.
If you’re cooking pumpkins, cut them in half by positioning them upright and slicing down the middles. Once the pumpkin is cut, place it on a dampened baking sheet with the skin facing up. Sprinkle or spray a bit of water on your baking sheets, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The pumpkin takes about an hour to bake.
When you are preparing food that needs to be seasoned, add the seasoning every few minutes. If you season your food this way, you can bring out the flavors of your ingredients a lot better.
You should be as organized as possible when cooking to avoid burning food and other mistakes, which could be costly. Just like with anything you do, the more organized you are, the more productive you will be. Being disorganized means having difficulty finding things and quite possibly ruining an entire dish, wasting valuable time and money!
Before you begin to cook, you must make sure that your kitchen utensils are clean. If your utensils still have food in them, it can ruin what you are trying to cook. This could cause a lot of very serious problems due to the spread of bacteria.
As a habit when cooking, make sure you wash the dishes after you are done using them. When you are cooking, keep one side of the sink full of water with soap and a clean rinse in the other side. Dishes clean best immediately after use and by washing them immediately, they will be ready to prepare the next ingredient for your meal.
If you plan on using fresh herbs, like parsley or dill in your food, form them into bunches and cut them with scissors. This chopping method produces lighter, fluffier herbs that are drier than conventionally cut herbs.
With a simple dish like mac and cheese, you really need to follow the recipe to get the best results. This way, the macaroni ends up immaculate and the cheese is melted perfectly of the pasta. A regular serving spoon is a perfectly good way to serve your macaroni and cheese. Spice up the macaroni with some pepper!
When cutting herbs, sprinkle a little salt onto your chopping board first. This adds flavor to the herbs and helps to keep them from sliding off the cutting board. If you add the salt to your cutting board, reduce the salt in the recipe by the same amount, so that you don’t add too much salt to your dish. Salt is known to boost the flavors of the items you use in your recipe, including herbs.
When you cook, wash dishes as you go along. Have one side of the sink full of soapy water and the other filled with rinse water. Your utensils and containers wash up easier the sooner you get to them, and washing them as you go also allows you to re-use them while preparing the same recipe.
Get your grill ready to go before you start to barbecue. Start prepping your grill roughly 30 minutes or more before you decide to start cooking. You need to allow the coals to reach a medium heat. Once the desired temperature has been reached they should be covered with ash. You will get the best grilling results at this temperature.
Once your meat is finished cooking, let it sit before serving it. Most people are unaware that it’s a good idea to have a meal sit out for a few minutes before eating. It has become almost habit now to serve up a meal as it comes right off the stove. However, your meal could be much more enjoyable if you wait. Let your food, particularly meat dishes, rest for a few minutes prior to serving.
An excellent suggestion is to purchase solid cutting utensils for use in your kitchen. Nobody wants to use dull knives, as they can take over twice the time to chop up ingredients, and they are more dangerous than sharp ones. Dull knives cause more cuts and accidents than sharp ones.
You should let your cooking wait until all the necessary preparations are complete. This is the best way for you to prevent any accidents or waste in the kitchen. Oil should not sit in a pan for too long, or it could cause a fire. Having everything ready to go will help you to be able to monitor what is going on in the kitchen, and not create a hazardous area.
A meat thermometer should be used to ensure that meat is being cooked properly. There is a temperature that is recommended for the different types of meat that indicates it is safe to eat. Bacteria thrive on meats, and unless the meat is properly and thoroughly cooked, these bacteria can remain and cause you sickness if consumed.
Trussing is the process of tying the turkey with string. Trussing keeps the good stuff inside your bird and also accommodates more consistent cooking. If the turkey is not trussed, the turkey’s extremities, including the wingtips and feet, can burn before the whole turkey is cooked.
Avoid overcooking or undercooking a cake. While the recipe or directions are a good starting point in cooking times, they may need adjustment. Factors like what kind of oven is used and elevation play a part in what the optimal cooking time will be. A tried and true method is to insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. The cake will be done when the toothpick comes out without any batter attached; if it doesn’t, bake it longer.
Timing is a crucial element when baking a cake. While the recipe or directions are a good starting point in cooking times, they may need adjustment. Factors like what kind of oven is used and elevation play a part in what the optimal cooking time will be. To test for doneness, insert a clean toothpick into the center of the cake. The cake is finished if the toothpick comes out completely clean. If it does not, and has some batter on it, it needs to be cooked longer.
An excellent way to cook is to use brine. You can draw out the delicious flavors of poultry by soaking the meat in brine for an hour before cooking it.
Not all potatoes are the same, and if you substitute one type of potato for another, your dish may not come out like you expected. Some potatoes are waxy and are great for making things like boiled potatoes or potato salad but are not so good for french fries, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes. For those types of dishes, Russet potatoes are best.
There are many ways to prepare fresh oysters. Most people eat oysters raw with lemon juice, but you can serve them in other ways. For example, put some shelled open oysters in a pan and coat them with a small amount of cream. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and black pepper, place under broiler until bubbling. Another great way to cook the oysters is to saute them. Cover them in a bit of seasoned flour, then fry them in some hot butter for about two minutes until they turn golden brown. When you bake oysters do it in their shells. Start by placing a casserole dish filled with your oysters, cover them with butter and breadcrumbs, and then bake them in the oven for about five minutes at 425 degrees. Once the butter starts bubbling along with the juice from the oyster, remove from oven and serve them with toasted sliced bread.
A better way is to use the oven timer as well as a watch timer. If you wear a stopwatch on your neck or use the timer on a watch, you will make sure that the beeps are heard no matter your location.
Cooking can be a hobby, job, or skill! Take lots of advice from others who are good at cooking. It’s the best way you can learn. Make use of this advice next time you need to cook something!
For a simple way to add interest and complexity to your corn on the cob or dinner rolls, try mixing up a flavored butter. Allow the butter to be at room temperature when serving. Then mix in herbs, spices or sauces to add an extra burst of flavor. Some good things to add in are lemon juice, honey, chipotles or BBQ sauce.